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Scrum and the Agile Manifesto

The values and principles of the Agile manifesto are designed to remind you of one thing above all: that whatever you are producing, you are producing it for actual use by actual people in actual situations. The Agile approach values results and people over processes and structures. Agile is about working with, not working against. Scrum is a framework within which this approach is embraced.

Daily Scrum

One Agile aspect of Scrum is the Daily Scrum. The Daily Scrum is a set, 15-minute team meeting that happens at the same time and place each day. It allows the Development Team to plan the day’s work; it also involves the inspection of work that has taken place since the previous Daily Scrum. These frequent, focused meetings thus emphasise collaboration and work quality among team members, as monitoring of and feedback on progress take place consistently every day. This embodies the Agile value of “individuals and interactions over processes and tools” — team members help structure, support, and check on each other’s progress.

Agile values can also be seen in Scrum’s reliance on Inspection and Adaptation, of which the Daily Scrum is part. The use of skilled and timely inspections helps ensure that a project stays on track, and allows inspectors to make informed decisions regarding adjustments that may need to be made to either process or material. An Agile approach emphasises that the ability to respond to change is more important than strict adherence to a plan; an Agile principle encourages participants to “Welcome changing requirements, even late in development.” The adjustments that may arise from inspection are the embodiment of Adaptation — and Adaptation is the very heart of Agile responsiveness.

Sprint Retrospective

One of the principles behind the Agile Manifesto states that “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.” Scrum puts this principle into practice with the use of the Sprint Retrospective, part of the Inspection and Adaptation process. The Retrospective follows the Sprint Review, and is designed to encourage the Scrum Team both to reflect on its recent work and find a way to improve itself for the next Sprint. The team does this by seeking to improve work processes or adapt the definition of “Done”, if appropriate.

Agile’s belief in the power of motivated individuals is echoed in its statement that “The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organising teams.“ This is reflected in the role and importance of the Development Team within the Scrum framework. Members of the team organise and manage their own work of creating increments of “Done” product, and no one may tell them how to do that job—including the Scrum Master. Teams are small enough to be responsive and nimble, individual members do not have titles, and there is no hierarchy within the team. The larger organisation invests trust and respect in the Development Team by empowering it to do its job without interference.

Virtually every aspect of the Scrum framework can be traced back to the Agile Manifesto and its principles. The above are just a few examples.

Advanced Certified ScrumMaster Learning Objective 1.1: Demonstrate how the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto are present in Scrum (e.g., frequent inspection and adaptation in review, retrospective, Daily Scrum).

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